Fulton County grand jury to hear evidence in Trump election case early this week

Former President Donald Trump could be handed his fourth indictment this week in Georgia as a grand jury prepares to hear evidence in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis' ongoing election interference probe.

Two grand juries were seated last month to serve through the end of the court term, one meeting Mondays and Tuesdays and the other meeting Thursdays and Fridays. Last week, former Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan confirmed that he will testify before one of those grand juries Tuesday, presumably as part of the investigation into efforts to overturn Trump's 2020 election loss in the state. Journalist George Chidi, who occasionally appears on FOX 5 Atlanta, has confirmed that he has been notified that he will be expected to testify on Tuesday. 

The former president faces potential racketeering and organized crime charges. Experts say it could take more than a year to sort out a potential trial.

Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat has said he’s in meetings "every day" to prepare for a possible indictment. In anticipation of potential charges, his deputies erected barriers around the beginning of August along the block in front of the main courthouse. The street was closed starting last week, and parking is prohibited on nearby streets. Those measures are to remain in place through the end of the week, Labat’s office said.


Trump has begun stepping up his criticism of Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who has spent two years leading the election probe into Trump and his allies. Speaking to supporters in New Hampshire on Aug. 8, the Republican former president launched highly personal attacks on Willis and called the 52-year-old Democratic prosecutor, who is Black, "a young woman, a young racist in Atlanta."

"She’s got a lot of problems. But she wants to indict me to try to run for some other office," Trump said.


Trump also weighted in on the possibility of taking a plea deal in the Georgia case.

"We don't take plea deals. We did nothing wrong. We don't ever take a plea deal," Trump said. "It's called election inference. You know that is? These indictments are brought out by Biden who can't even put two sentences together."

A special grand jury found sufficient evidence to recommend indictments against Trump and others earlier this year. However, only a regular grand jury has the power to indict in Georgia.

If Trump is indicted by a Georgia grand jury, it would add to a growing list of legal troubles as he campaigns for president. Trump is set to go to trial in New York in March to face state charges related to hush-money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign. And he has another trial scheduled for May on federal charges related to his handling of classified documents. He has pleaded not guilty in those cases.

Here are six investigative threads Willis and her team have explored:

Trump's phone calls to Georgia officials

The Georgia investigation was prompted by the Jan. 2, 2021 phone call Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Trump suggested the state’s top elections official could help "find" the votes needed to put him ahead of Democrat Joe Biden in the state.

"All I want to do is this: I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have," Trump is heard saying on a recording of the call, which was leaked to news outlets. "Because we won the state."

Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong and has repeatedly said the call was "perfect."

Trump also called other top state officials in his quest to overturn his 2020 election loss, including Gov. Brian Kemp, then-House Speaker David Ralston, Attorney General Chris Carr and the top investigator in the secretary of state’s office.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, also called Raffensperger shortly after the November election. Raffensperger said at the time that Graham asked whether he had the power to reject certain absentee ballots, which Raffensperger has said he interpreted as a suggestion to toss out legally cast votes.

Graham has denied wrongdoing, saying he just wanted to learn about the signature verification process.

Georgia fake electors

Biden won Georgia by a margin of fewer than 12,000 votes. Just over a month after the election, on Dec. 14, 2020, a group 16 Georgia Democratic electors met in the Senate chamber at the state Capitol to cast the state’s Electoral College votes for him. They each marked paper ballots that were counted and confirmed by a voice roll call.

That same day, in a committee meeting room at the Capitol, 16 prominent Georgia Republicans — a lawmaker, activists and party officials — met to sign a certificate falsely stating that Trump had won and declaring themselves the state’s "duly elected and qualified" electors. They sent that certificate to the National Archives and the U.S. Senate.

Georgia was one of seven battleground states that Trump lost where Republican fake electors signed and submitted similar certificates. Trump allies in the U.S. House and Senate used those certificates to argue for delaying or blocking the certification of the election during a joint session of Congress.

Prosecutors in Fulton County have said in court filings that they believe Trump associates worked with state Republicans to coordinate and execute the plan.

The multi-state effort was ultimately unsuccessful. Despite public pressure from Trump and his supporters, then-Vice President Mike Pence refused on Jan. 6, 2021, to introduce the unofficial pro-Trump electors. After the attack on the U.S. Capitol put a violent halt to the certification process, lawmakers certified Biden’s win in the early hours of Jan. 7, 2021.

At least eight of the fake electors have since reached immunity deals with Willis’ team. And a judge last summer barred Willis from prosecuting another one, Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, because of a conflict of interest.

False claims of election fraud

Republican state lawmakers held several hearings at the Georgia Capitol in December 2020 to examine alleged problems with the November election. During those meetings, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and other Trump allies made unproven claims of widespread election fraud.

They alleged that election workers tallying absentee ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta had told outside observers to leave and then pulled out "suitcases" of unlawful ballots and began scanning them. The Trump allies played clips of surveillance video from the arena to support their allegations. State and federal officials investigated and said there was no evidence of election fraud at the site.

Some Trump allies also said thousands of people who were ineligible — including people convicted of felonies, people under the age of 18, people who had voted in another state — had cast votes in Georgia. The secretary of state’s office has debunked those claims.

The indictment of former President Donald Trump this week in the classified documents investigation is just one of several legal problems for him, including a potential indictment in the Georgia election interference probe.

Alleged attempts to pressure an election worker

Two of the election workers seen in the State Farm Arena surveillance video, Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea "Shaye" Moss, said they faced relentless harassment online and in person as a result of the allegations made by Trump and his allies.

Giuliani last week conceded that statements he made about the two election workers were false.

In a bizarre episode detailed by prosecutors in court filings, a woman traveled from Chicago to Georgia and met with Freeman on Jan. 4, 2021. The woman initially said she wanted to help Freeman but then warned that Freeman could go to prison and tried to pressure her into falsely confessing to committing election fraud, prosecutors wrote in court filings last year.

Shaye Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman are the two former Fulton County election workers thrust into the national spotlight by former President Donald Trump back in 2020. Trump and his team claimed surveillance video from State Farm Arena in Atlanta showed the duo tampering with ballots. Those claims were all proven to be false.

Election equipment accessed

Trump-allied lawyer Sidney Powell and others hired a computer forensics team to copy data and software on election equipment in Coffee County, some 200 miles southeast of Atlanta, according to invoices, emails, security video and deposition testimony produced in response to subpoenas in a long-running lawsuit.

The county Republican Party chair at the time — who also served as a fake elector — greeted them when they arrived at the local elections office on Jan. 7, 2021, and some county elections officials were also on hand during the daylong visit. The secretary of state’s office has said this amounted to "alleged unauthorized access" of election equipment and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into it at the secretary of state’s request.

Two other men who have been active in efforts to question the 2020 election results also visited Coffee County later that month and spent hours inside.

U.S. Attorney BJay Pak's resignation

U.S. Attorney BJay Pak, the top federal prosecutor in Atlanta, abruptly resigned two days after Trump called Raffensperger and a day after a recording of that call was made public. During that conversation, Trump called Pak a "never-Trumper," implying that he didn’t support the president.

In December 2020, then-U.S. Attorney General William Barr asked Pak to investigate allegations by Giuliani and other Trump allies of widespread election fraud. Pak, who had been appointed by Trump in 2017, reported back that he had found no evidence of such fraud.

In August 2021, Pak told the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, which was investigating Trump’s post-election actions, that he resigned on Jan. 4, 2021, after learning from Department of Justice officials that Trump did not believe enough was being done to investigate allegations of election fraud and wanted him gone as U.S. attorney.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.